11/05/2010 (Fri) Tsukiji fish market -> Ghibli museum -> Nakano broadway -> Asakusa
After we got the best sushi of our life in at Sushi Dai in Tsukiji fish market (see Japan 2010 – Day 04 part 1 for the details), we headed to the Ghibli museum again!
The previous day we had bought a round-trip ticket, and only used the one for getting there, so this time we decided to walk to the museum and take a bus on the way back to the station.
It was about a 15 minute walk to get to the station. We enjoyed taking a stroll on “Kaze no sanpo michi.”
We got there, and said hi to Totoro at the fake entrance again. When we saw Totoro at the fake entrance the previous day, it was pretty dark so we thought we could take better photos of Totoro. We quickly realized that it’s actually harder to take a photo of Totoro on a nice sunny day because of the glare. (I suppose it’s a good thing to remember.)
We got in the museum and the first thing we did was go see Mei and Kitten Bus at the Saturn Theater again. This was the second time, so we felt more confident holding our composure this time. There were more kids in the theater than the previous day, so it was funny to see & hear kids react and talk back to the screen. In the film, when Mei was walking around in the backyard a little kid in the front kept saying in Japanese “Mei-chan! Where are you going? Hey! Where are you going?” pretty loud. I usually get irritated when someone talks in the theater but this was the cutest thing I’ve ever heard in a movie theater. The movie was still AWESOME even it was the second time, and I still got teary watching it.
We went up on the rooftop again and said hi to the Laputa robot. We still couldn’t believe we got engaged the previous day.
We walked around the museum and went to Mugiwara Boshi Cafe again. There was a long line but it was such a nice day that we didn’t mind at all.
We were still full from the sushi we ate at Sushi Dai in Tsukiji, so we decided to order a fruit parfait and a cup of coffee with milk foam on the top, the one I saw on the previous day. I think we waited for about 40 minutes, and got seated by the door this time. I looked over at the counter and noticed that the same pâtissière from the previous day was working, so I was very excited about getting my own cup of coffee with chocolate art.
We were chatting and taking photos when a fruit parfait was brought to us. I was a little surprised because it wasn’t a regular young waitress who brought us the parfait. He was a little older and looked like a manager. Then he politely bowed and said “We’d like to thank you for coming to Mugiwara Boshi Cafe again.” I was shocked that they remembered us!
Then I got my coffee. Again, to my surprise, the pâtissière herself brought me the coffee! She bowed and said “Thank you so much for coming to the cafe again” with the cutest smile. She remembered that I took a photo of the coffee on previous day and told her that I’d come back and order it the next day. A pâtissière is like a chef for sweets, and they usually don’t wait table or bring food to the customers. But that wasn’t all. I looked the art on the coffee and realized that she added a heart <3 next to the straw hat! (And I realized now that she made my hat girlier!)
We were blown away by their caring service and modesty. We so wish we could’ve tipped them. Sushi Dai and Mugiwara Boshi Cafe totally warmed our hearts. We couldn’t stop smiling all day. I truly believe kindness is contagious.
We left the museum around 3:00, and headed to Nakano Broadway. (<-Nakano Broadway official site available in English) Nakano Broadway is another otaku spot. The arcade to Nakano Broadway starts right in front of Nakano Station on JR Chuo line (or Somu line). The arcade has restaurants, clothes stores, drug stores, game arcades, etc…
At the end of the arcade is Nakano Broadway. It’s like a small mall filled with small stores that sell specific products, like animation cels, doll parts, tons of different kinds of toys, retro games, and also they have game arcades, used books, DVDs stores, food stands, maid cafes, and clothes stores etc… It’s basically a smaller & less crowded version of Akihabara. We were there more for sightseeing and not for shopping, so we looked around a little bit and walked back to the station. Again, if you’re into toys and anime, it’ll be very hard to resist the urge to spend money there.
It was still early, so we decided to go to Asakusa. (<- click to read about Asakusa on JapanGuide.com) Asakusa is a very famous tourist spot and I’m sure a lot of people have seen the picture of the big red lantern at Kaminarimon Gate and Sensouji Temple. It’s nice during the day of course, but when it gets dark, the lights on the both sides of the path (called Nakamise) leading to Sensouji Temple turn on and also the temples are lit up which is very pretty.
This is where you can find tons of “Japanesey stuff” like cheap kimono, ninja outfits, fake sword, T-shirts with kanji on it, along with freshly baked yummy rice crackers and other sweets. But among the cheessy souvenir stores, there are some great Japanese traditional crafts stores too. My favorite place is Bunsen-do. They make and sell beautiful hand-fans and folding fans. Some have paintings on them, some smell nice, and the prices range from reasonable to very expensive. I’m not an expert on Asakusa, but the Asakusa Travel Guide might help you find good craft stores around there. We didn’t really go there for the temples but Sensouji Temple is pretty big and there are a couple of temples and shrines around it , so even if you don’t have time to go to Kyoto, you can still enjoy visiting temples & shrines right in the heart of Tokyo.
The place was closed but we decided to do Omikuji (fortunes). Most Omikuji stands are unattended. They trust you to put money in the box before you get your Omikuji. There are different kinds of Omikuji stand, but I’ll explain how you do Omikuji at Sensouji temple.
Derek’s fortune “Bad luck” : Fire breaks out up to the sky. This is a big fire, which burns to the heaven. New problem and mistakes in the past come together, making us worry too much. It will be impossible for you to get whatever you want. Finding a big river on your way, no boat will be found there to cross by. Your wishes will not be realized. The patient will not get well. The lost article will not be found. Building a new house or moving is not good. You should stop to make a trip. Marriage and hiring employees are both bad.
It was so bad that I laughed. I mean, we just got engaged the previous day, and we were taking the biggest vacation ever right at that moment.
And I got my fortune.
My fortune “The Best Luck” : Relying upon a person in higher rank for help to succeed in one’s life is just like a cock tries to fly following a phoenix and perches on a higher twig. Poling a boat across the stream is a smile of your getting along well with others in this world. You will rise in the world and be wealthy. Your wish will come true, so you should be modest for everything. The sick person will get well. The lost article will be found. The person you are waiting for will come. Building a new house and removable are both good. It is good to make a travel. Both employment and marriage are good.
TIPS & NOTES:
The gates, stores and the temple sure are beautiful at night, but the main hall of Sensouji temple closes at 5:00 PM. A lot of souvenir stores will start closing around 6:00 PM, so don’t get there too late! Also, there are always many rickshaw guys hanging out in front of Kaminarimon Gate, asking people (rather aggressively but nicely) to give them a tour around Asakusa in their rickshaw. I’ve never used them but if you’re thinking about using the service, the price starts from about 5000 yen per person (8000 yen for two people) for 30 minutes. Also there are rickshaw drivers who can speak English nowadays. They are owned by legitimate rickshaw companies, so as long as you and the driver understand which course (how long) you’re taking, you don’t have to worry about getting ripped off or being charged for hidden fees. (No tip necessary!)
Before we left Asakusa, I called the official Totoro cream puff store, “Shirohige no choux creme koubou” (Shirohige’s cream puff factory), and ordered cream puffs to pick up the next day. That’s right! We were finally meeting the real Totoro cream puffs in person!
It wasn’t that late but we’ve been walking around since 5:00 that morning, and we were getting tired. So we decided to go home, and order curry from CoCo Ichiban.
CoCo Ichiban (curry fast food)
I ate: Pork curry + shrimp + soft boiled egg + calamari + fried oyster + mushroom + pickled sweet onion = 1570 yen
Derek ate: Pork curry + crispy fried chicken + hard boiled egg + cream croquette = 1170 yen
*You can just order simple basic curry, which is only 550 yen but I always go crazy with toppings.
Coco Ichiban is a fast food restaurant/delivery service for curry. You can pick any kind of curry and add toppings just like pizza. You can also place an order online and have it deliver it to you if they have Coco Ichiban near you. I had access to internet at my brother’s home so I decided to take advantage and order it online. All you have to do is give them your address, phone number and your email address with your orders. Almost instantly I got an email asking me to confirm my order by clicking the link they sent me. I clicked on the link, confirmed my order and my curry was on the way! The great thing about this is it’ll even tell you how long the wait will be. (The wait time changes depending on how busy they are.)
The wait time was 50 minutes (it was dinner time) but the delivery guy showed up within 40 minutes. He was very energetic, pleasant and super polite. *sorry for the low quality of the photos! Derek was passed out when the curry arrived so I took the photos with my camera.
Another busy day ended! Derek was sleeping while I ate my curry About the time I finished, he woke up, ate his curry and went back to sleep. It was almost as if he was sleep-eating.
We have over 4000 photos from this trip and there’s no way I can post them all on my blog. So I’m uploading photos from our trip to flickr as I write a post for each day. If you’d like to check out random photos from Japan or us goofing around in Japan, check out my flickr collection by clicking the link below!
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